David Barrett, OC OBC (October 2, 1930 – February 2, 2018) – politician and social worker in BC – 26th Premier of British Columbia for three years between 1972 and 1975.
Barrett was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, the son of Rose (Hyatt) and Samuel Barrett.
His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants. He was first elected to British Columbia’s legislature in the 1960 election as a Co-operative Commonwealth Federation member for the electoral district of Dewdney. He had to fight to be allowed to run as he was a civil servant, as at the time government employees were barred from running for office.
He became known for his public speaking ability and held his seat through four elections. He ran for the provincial leadership of the NDP, but lost to Tom Berger. However, Berger lost the 1969 election, a contest that the NDP had been expected to win. He resigned, and there was a quick campaign to draft Barrett as party leader.
Barrett led the NDP to its first provincial victory against the stagnating Social Credit government of W. A. C. Bennett in the 1972 election. He became Premier on September 15, 1972.
The Barrett government substantially reformed the welfare system, initiated a number of reforms such as establishing the province’s Labour Relations Board, and expanded the public sector. The NDP also introduced more democracy into the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia through the introduction of question period and full Hansard transcripts of legislative proceedings in the province. The NDP also brought in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) to protect the small supply of farm land in BC. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) was formed to provide government car insurance. Both the ALR and ICBC are still functioning. On social policy, in 1973, B.C. banned corporal punishment in all schools.